Nov 4, 2021 - COVID
Columbus gets COVID vaccines for kids ages 5-11
One of the first children in Columbus to get the COVID-19 vaccine on Wednesday evening at Nationwide Children's Hospital
One of the first children in Columbus to get the COVID-19 vaccine on Wednesday evening. Photo courtesy of Nationwide Children's Hospital

Ohio is quickly rolling out COVID-19 vaccines for kids ages 5-11.

  • A group at Nationwide Children's Hospital became some of the first kids to get the shot at a Wednesday evening clinic.

Why it matters: Until now, Ohio children — of which there are nearly 1 million — had largely resumed in-person school and other activities without immunity that teens and adults have had access to for months.

  • Vaccinating 5 to 11-year-olds should reduce COVID transmission in the U.S. by 8% between now and March 2022, based on a CDC panel's modeling.

Driving the news: The CDC approved shots for the new age group late Tuesday and providers are starting to receive shipments. Currently, only a two-dose Pfizer-BioNTech shot is authorized for children.

Where to go: The Ohio Department of Health has a list of locations and encourages families to contact their child's health care provider.

What's next: Children's plans to host clinics in area schools but hasn't finalized details, per pediatrician Sara Bode, who oversees its school-based programs.

Yes, but: Convincing many parents to get their young children vaccinated won't be easy.

  • Children age 12-17 have the lowest vaccination rates in Ohio, 43%.
  • Clinics for younger kids and their families will likely need to be more intimate and offered during evenings and weekends, unlike large-scale events hosted in gymnasiums for older children during the school day.

What they're saying: "There may be more families wanting to come in and have one-on-one conversations with a pediatrician first," Bode tells Axios. "To combat that hesitancy, it's going to take talking with somebody you know and trust."

What we're watching: With shots now available to all school-aged children, the state should soon begin drawings for its Vax-2-School scholarship lottery, which so far hasn't significantly impacted vaccination rates among teens and young adults.

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